A career in Prosthetics and Orthotics

Prosthetist-Orthotists manufacturing a prosthesis
P&O manufacturing an upper limb prosthesis

Prosthetist – Orthotists are professionals who prescribe and fit artificial limbs (prostheses) and braces (orthoses) for people with disabilities. They must have a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, physics, biomechanics, biology, psychology, pathology of the human body etc. Prosthetist – Orthotists use their special skills in hospitals and rehabilitation centres, often for humanitarian causes. A Prosthetist – Orthotist works with other Health Care Professionals such as Doctors, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists.

Who do Prosthetist – Orthotists help?

Prosthetist-Orthotist and Physiotherapist working together
P&O and Physiotherapist assess a polio affected child

Adults and children affected by cerebral palsy, polio, clubfeet, congenital deformities, tuberculosis, other diseases or trauma all may require orthoses to support their weakened bodies.

Adults and children who may have had amputations due to traffic accidents, landmines / UXO (un-exploded ordnance), cancers, infections, and conditions related to vascular disease may require prostheses to replace the lost parts of the body.

What does a Prosthetist – Orthotist do in a normal day?

Prosthetist-Orthotist with a boy
P&O fitting a prosthesis for a young landmine survivor

Prosthetist – Orthotists work directly with disabled people every day. They spend time talking with disabled people to identify what they need and want, and then begin the process of making devices. This involves the use of Plaster-of-Paris and, later in the process, plastic materials. Finally the device must be fitted and made to work correctly. It is rewarding to see disabled people returning to “ordinary” life, walking by themselves.

Prosthetist – Orthotists work with disabled people to restore mobility, dignity and self-sufficiency. Prostheses and orthoses can make a major impact on disabled people’s lives, enabling them to participate in education, employment and community life. There is also a positive impact on society when disabled people are reintegrated rather than excluded. Mobility is the first step towards equality.